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TCU Football 2014: Previewing the Defensive Line

With Devonte Fields out of the picture TCU's defensive line gets shuffled a little bit.

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Well you've all heard it by now. Devonte Fields is transferring to Stephen F. Austin.

Talent like Fields' is rare, and when it shows up on campus we want it to thrive, and take the program to a higher level. Sometimes, though, the kid can't handle the responsibility/pressure of being in the spotlight.

Sometimes they make awful decisions.

That's what Fields did.

But there's no denying the talent he had on the football field. He could shed blockers with ease and get into the backfield almost unnoticed by the quarterback until it was too late. He could run down a running back or beat a guy to the edge, and then leave a human being sized trench in the ground as he took his man down. Devonte Fields is a rare talent.

But rare talent doesn't give you unlimited free passes. Not at TCU, anyways.

Maybe he should have gone to LSU instead, where a different shade of purple finds ways to sleep at night despite things like this, and this.

But all that's in the rearview mirror now. Devonte is gone.

Of course, Fields isn't the only defensive lineman TCU has lost a little early. If you'll remember, Jon Lewis, who led TCU in tackles for loss in 2013 with 11, decided to walk away from football back in February.

However, despite two key losses, depth will keep this line afloat in 2014.

Defensive Tackles

Chucky Hunter, a preseason All-Big 12 pick, headlines what has the potential to be a dominant core of defensive tackles. Davion Pierson will line up next to Hunter, and together, Hunter and Pierson get incredibly push in the middle, and will be key to disrupting plays in 2014. Behind them we'll see a lot more of Tevin Lawson in 2014. As a freshman in 2013, Lawson appeared in 11 games, recording seven tackles, including one for loss.

We'll also see two guys that will split time between tackle and end, Mike Tuaua and Terrell Lathan. Lathan led TCU in 2013 with five sacks, and will be expected to fill in as a backup DT, while vying for a starting job at end. Tuaua is the definition of a great depth guy, as he can come in and succeed at any of the four spots along the defensive line.

Defensive Ends

We've already mentioned Lathan and Tuaua, and I wouldn't be shocked if Lathan was named the starter in place of Fields for the start of 2014.The logical choice to start at the other end is James McFarland, who had three sacks and five tackles for loss in 2013. Behind them, the depth is young, but incredibly talented. Josh Carraway and Bryson Henderson, a sophomore and redshirt freshman respectively, should see a significant amount of time behind Lathan, McFarland and Tuaua. Depending on how they perform, it may allow Patterson and Bumpas to move Lathan and Tuaua all over the line, creating bad matchups for opposing offensive linemen.

The Freshmen

We shouldn't forget about the guys TCU just signed in February, although they'll probably redshirt this season. Just know that depth is waiting in the wings with guys like L.J. Collier, Trey Elliot, Chris Bradley, and Casey Mcdermott Vai.